Under the Knife
Mission 4: Letting the Hair Down
Statzia's fingers trembled as she tried to tuck the small pile of braids up into the surgical cap. She closed her eyes, trying to shut out at least the sight of Sickbay. But around her, medical staff bustled about, setting up trays, wheeling in equipment, and chattering in the background. About her. It was always unnerving--being talked about as the patient, as if she weren't sitting within earshot.
As two of the small braids were tucked up, another half-dozen fell out. She swore under her breath and pulled the cap off her head, crumpling it in her fist.
"How's 'the patient' holding up? You want to see your prosthetic before it gets attached?" Vesu gently took the cap and started to gather Statzia's hair. She didn't think to ask whether it was ok to touch her, but once she was she realized she probably should have. "You don't mind if I help you with this, do you?"
Statzia let out a shaky breath and gave a nod to proceed. "You would think that by my 18th surgery, I would be over the jitters, right?" Her hands gripped the edge of the biobed as she let out another breath, trying to will herself towards calm.
"Not everyone can get used to surgeries- it's often incredibly invasive- literally and figuratively- and giving up control to strangers or even friends is difficult." Vesu smiled, "My brother never got used to surgeries, even when our sister was the surgeon. She wasn't medically trained though, so maybe his fear was warranted." With both hands available to work on it, Vesu had Statzia's hair tucked up quickly.
Statzia nodded. "The darkness is the worst," she said quietly. "You can't tell up from down." She opened her mouth as if to say more, but the words caught and she bit her lower lip.
"I am not sure how you would need to tell up from down when you are sleeping," Lyras said as he approached, "we do not need to fully put you under though, if you prefer to remain awake. We can numb you from the waist down, if that is what you prefer. We can pull up a screen so it is obscured from your sight."
"I'm not sure which is worse, Doc--reliving the dark cave in my nightmares, or listening to all of you move around and talk about me as if I'm not on the other side of the screen." There was a moment of embarrassment as Statzia looked away.
"Both sound unpleasant." Vesu agreed, stepping away, "I'd probably prefer to know what was going on, of course, but I don't like when people talk about me. I'll be here the whole time, though, so if you need anything while i'm not calibrating your leg you can call."
"We can always play music for you to listen to.. we can replicate headphones," Lyras offered. "Even an unconscious mind is capable of experiencing music."
Statzia looked up at the Vulcan. In all the surgeries she'd undergone for her leg, nobody had ever suggested music. She gave a nod, relaxing visibly. "Klingon opera, if that's possible. I'm sure it'd be distracting if everyone hears it, but if it can tune out four older brothers, I'm sure I won't be able to hear what all of you are doing." She took in a deep breath, reminding herself that she actually had to breathe. "Can I see what my leg will look like?"
Vesu retrieved the leg and held it gently- like it was made of glass, rather than a sturdier alloy. The metal gleamed in the medical lighting. "Here we go! It will look more like your real leg once everything's ok, but we have to leave it exposed for testing and attatchments." Small lights blinked like stars on the more central 'nerve' areas. "It's just the right weight and size, I promise." She smiled.
After instructing and assisting two other nurses with tasks to better prepare for the surgery Javn stepped up to Statzias side with two small ear pieces no bigger then a dime in her palm. She admired the prosthetic Vesu held, it was remarkably beautiful, very delicate looking. Javn smiled before cutting in, “Lieutenant, I have preloaded these with the Klingon Opera saved in the ships public library. Whenever your ready just let me know.” She gave her a bright tight lipped smile as she set the ear pieces on a table close to Statzias head.
Statzia smiled and nodded at Javn, but her eyes went back to the prosthetic. Her face seemed torn between two emotions. She took another deep breath to calm her nerves. "How--how real will it feel?"
Doctor Steffan Haas entered the surgical bay of Sickbay, wearing the red surgical scrubs ready to begin the surgery which who hopefully end the pain that Lieutenant Liski had been feeling. "Hello everyone." He said by way of greeting in a chirpy tone.
Mis slipped in just as the Doctor stepped over. She knew she was late, but she supposed it was better than nothing. "Doctor, before you begin, would you mind giving us a minute?" Then she turned to Stazia, "Sorry I'm late, the trials of being an XO, dealing with everyone else's problems before your own."
Statzia let out a shaky breath, now that the doctor was here, but she tried to manage a smile for Mis. "It's okay. Somebody's got to keep the ship running while they insist on keeping me strapped to this table."
"Oh pshhh. You know they would stop at any time if you told them to. IT's entirely your choice. But, I also know you must be scared and nervous. It will be okay Stazia. It will be over before you know it. Can I do anything other than offer my presence? Want a stuffed animal? An octopus with lots of arms?"
The tension broke on her face and Statzia gave a soft laugh. "It's okay. They've said they can do this surgery without putting me under, so I'm going to tune out all of the sawbones talk with some Klingon opera." She let out a breath. "And if I turn down this prosthetic, they'll ship me planet-side to sit behind a desk somewhere, and places with non-recycled atmospheres give me hives." She bit her lower lip and shook her head. "So no, I don't really get a choice, do I?"
"Who said that?" Mis asked, looking sceptical and thinking that if it were her she'd want to be put under, but this was not the first time they had been opposites. "Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised by it. They really have made all sorts of advancements."
Vesu busied herself with the prosthetic, taking out an electrostim and getting it into the 'base' position. Once the leg was ready, she laid it down in the carrying case. She had a few tools for later adjustments she'd just replicated so they were completely sterile in a case beside that one. There were biomechanics specialists who could reasonably assist Statzia with her leg. She was sure Statzia would prefer someone she knew to a stranger. But she hadn't asked, and now she was second guessing that judgement. A little late.
Statzia rubbed the edge of the biobed with her thumb. "I'm sure it will be better than the real thing, right?" Her other hand rubbed the stump of her leg that dangled over the edge. "I won't even remember what it was like to lose it in the first place."
"You always have a choice lieutenant," Lyras pointed out, "and it should be as good and as functional as the real thing." He offered a gentle smile. "It will at least be far more durable. I do believe, once you are used to your prosthetic, you will be able to give losing your leg a proper place and move on. Are you ready to proceed?"
"I have to agree. Hopefully this will be the last time for a good while that you have to worry about your leg and able to put the past behind and look towards the future with hope." Haas said with a reassuring smile.
Statzia gave a quiet sigh. "If only the rest of the away team had a hopeful future, right?" She swallowed the lump in her throat and swung her legs up onto the biobed. "The sooner we get this leg replaced, the sooner the platitudes will stop. Let's get this over with."
Vesu shimmied around behind someone and gently laid a hand on Statzia's shoulder. "No darkness, no platitudes, relax. Your leg will be serviceable and keep you on two feet. I'm sorry this operation is so stressful."
Statzia swallowed the lump in her throat as she gave a nod to Vesu. She didn't dare try to say any words--she was already on thin ice as far as Starfleet was concerned, and either storming out of Sickbay or smashing it all to splinters would just put her one step closer to the discharge she'd been warned about before her transfer. As hard as she tried to keep it from happening, tears welled in her eyes and she quickly wiped them away with her hands. She hated it. All of it--and the one person she really wanted to be in the room would never walk through the door.
Taking a shaky breath, Statzia slid herself into place on the biobed, letting her head rest on the small pillow.
Haas placed a reassuring hand on Statzia's shoulder. "I know there is a lot of guilt with this prosthetic, but would any of those people who died want you to stress yourself out over it? Of course not. They'd want you live and enjoy your life. This operation will help, I promise."
"Doctor Haas seems to reiterate what I have already told you," Lyras said as he moved to the other side of the bed. "Relax, listen to the music and we will be finished before you know it."
Statzia gave her eyes one more wipe. "Let's get this over with, Doc."
"Lets." The Doctor said before looking at his team. "Let's get this show on the road. Jan, could you place the head phones on the Lieutenant, please." The Doctor said as he glanced at her vitals. "Lyras," he said in a quieter tonetone. "Up the sedation level by 25cc, we need her calm. If her heart rate keeps spiking, we're going to be in real trouble."
"Leg's ready," Vesu stepped back, not sure how much they'd need her from the medical side of things.
Lyras nodded as he pressed the hypo against Statzia's throat. "Surely, the music will drown everything out, especially as she is numb from the waist down?"
"Thank you." The Doctor said to the Orion engineer with a smile before turning to Lyras. "Her heart rate is very high now. If it gets any higher her BP will start rapidly increasing. She's very nervous, let's make her as relaxed as possible."
Statzia's eyes were closed, shutting out the view of Sickbay. For one brief instant, her eyes opened and her brow furrowed in confusion. Her eyes slipped shut again and her body went still.
Steffan watched as Statzia's eyes closed and she gently slipped into unconsciousness. He then glanced up at the readouts about the bed, he watched as her heart beat began to slow as she relaxed. "Good. Her readings are leveling off. I think we can proceed."
Commander Nokomis Diza
Executive Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Anastatzia Liski
Chief Operations Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Steffan Haas, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Heshoulou Vesu
Chief Engineer, USS Orion
Ensign Lyras, M.D.
Medical Officer, USS Orion
Ensign Javn Darhk
Head Nurse, USS Orion